March Forward Savings Challenge
Sometimes when we make financial goals we’re so ambitious they become overwhelming. For instance, you might want to save $5,000 towards a new car this year, but you barely have $100 left over each month for that objective. You won’t be on track to save $5,000 during 2023 in this situation. But there are simple and small adjustments you can make that will increase how much you save each month. This way, as you continue into the year, you won’t have to reinvent the wheel in order to squirrel away money. That’s what makes our March Forward Savings Challenge easy. Instead of making huge changes, you only have to make minor adjustments and watch your savings grow.
Set Up a Budget
If you haven’t already done so, you should set up a budget which shows how much you make against how much you spend per month. There are a number of free budgeting apps available which will do all the work for you. It only takes a few minutes to set up the app and then it automatically updates your budget throughout the month. By crafting a budget, you’ll have a better understanding of where all your money is going and discover places you can cut back … and save.
Cut Back on Extra Services
Do you know how many monthly subscriptions you have on auto-pay? Many of us subscribe to services and then promptly forget about them. We may not even use them all that frequently. But these services sit in the background, silently taking money out of our bank accounts each month. Going through your subscription services and nixing the ones that you don’t use consistently will certainly save you some money.
There are also non-essential memberships and recurring fees which pop up, such as a gym or zoo membership. You should also ask yourself how often you truly use these services or if you could cancel them and save yourself some cash.
Pay Off Your High Interest Debt
One of the most impactful ways to free up money is to get rid of your high interest debt, such as paying off your credit cards. While this can seem like a large task, it’s actually something that’s done rather simply using what’s called “the snowball method”. Choose the lowest of your debts, such as a $350 bill and pay that off first. Then, move on to paying the next lowest of your debts, say $520. Repeat this until you’ve conquered your debt. By paying off the lowest sum first, you accomplish your goal quickly, giving you a boost of motivation to keep going. And once you’ve gotten rid of this debt, you’ll have a whole lot of savings to look forward to.
Put Aside Money Each Month
Putting aside a little money every month, even if it’s $50, is a good habit to get into. Because even $50 can add up over time. You can have your bank automatically set aside a certain amount every month and deposit that money in another checking account or a savings account. All you have to do is sit back and watch your savings grow month by month.
Trim Your Grocery Bill
With the prices of groceries going up, it can be challenging to find ways to save. Aside from clipping coupons, one big way you can help your budget is by shopping in-store or curbside pickup. Many stores offer this service, where you buy your groceries online. Then all you have to do is drive to the store and pick them up on a day and time of your choosing. You might wonder how this saves money. Well, it keeps you from impulse buying in the store. It also allows you to see exactly how much you will be spending and to add and subtract items from your shopping cart accordingly. That way you can stick to a strict budget. The online store may also point out discounts and offer coupons that you can take advantage of.
Check Out Your Local Library
When it comes to movies, music and books, you don’t have to pay to enjoy any of these wonderful forms of entertainment. That’s because you can get all of these at your local library for free. All you’ll need is a library card and you can check out hundreds, if not thousands, of books, audio recordings and movies. You can even download audio books or ebooks. So the next time you want to have a movie night, don’t rely on a streaming service. Instead, head to the library where you can get your movies for free and save a penny or two.
Wait It Out
Last, but certainly not least, another way you can ensure you save money is to simply … wait. There’s often the temptation to buy something we want immediately. But if it’s a non-necessary purchase, you should try waiting before buying it. Some financial experts suggest waiting 30 days to see if you still desire the item in question. But even a cool-down period of 48 hours will help you decide if this purchase is actually necessary. By giving yourself the chance to step away from impulse buying, you’ll be less likely to spend money on things you don’t need. You’ll save yourself some cash in the long run just by making healthier spending choices.
Reach Your Goals
By making small adjustments to fine tune your finances, you can save more than you may have originally. Before you know it, you’ll be saving enough that your $5,000 goal won’t be so out of reach after all. All it takes is making one financial choice at a time, whether that’s budgeting, getting grocery pick-up or finding movies at the library. So, go forward with our March Forward Savings Challenge knowing that small changes can make a big difference.